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Five-figure fine for Warwickshire HMO fire failings

A Warwickshire landlord has been fined £10,744 for failing to properly manage a two-storey property he owns in Leamington.

Manjit Chima owned a two-storey house split into seven bedsits. A fire at the property led to an investigation by the Fire Service and Warwick District Council’s Private Sector Housing Team.

Fire Fighters discovered that the fire had started in the communal kitchen. Both of the doors leading from the kitchen had previously been removed by the landlord, leaving any fire in the kitchen open to the hall, stairs and ground floor rear bedrooms.

A garage and outbuilding had also been converted into bedsits without being fitted with fire escape type windows.

Fortunately, all of the tenants managed to escape before the fire took hold, suffering only from smoke inhalation.

Chima failed to provide records of the servicing of the fire alarm system – which failed to operate properly. He also failed to provide any gas or electrical inspection reports.

Magistrates at Nuneaton Justice Centre told Chima the offences were “very serious” and placed his tenants’ lives in danger.

Cllr Peter Phillips, Warwick District Council’s housing and property services portfolio holder, said: “The vast majority of landlords work well with the council and provide good quality accommodation. The situation at 82 Westlea Road could easily have had a tragic outcome. Council officers will not hesitate to prosecute where tenants’ health and safety is put at risk by landlords blatantly disregarding the law.”

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